Gitmo’s $32 million Internet connection


From 2014 to 2017, the U.S. Department of Defense paid a Texas contractor $32,751,360 to build an undersea fiber-optic cable from Dania Beach, Florida, to the Naval Station at Guantánamo, Cuba.
Ronald Bechtold, former chief information officer under then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, testified in 2013 that the Pentagon planned to eventually extend the cable throughout Cuba. That was under a scenario that saw the two countries continuing to improve relations.
Other Department of Defense officials denied plans to extend the cable, telling the Miami Herald it was exclusively for Gitmo.
Xtera Communications Inc. of Allen, Texas, completed the project. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016, giving it time to reorganize.

Photo: U.S. Navy

The company’s DOD contract runs through Dec. 1, 2020, and would be worth a total of $67,958,543 if all contract options are completed.
Xtera’s contract is posted on the Black Vault, a website that collects and stores declassified and other documents.
Gitmo’s website makes clear that the U.S. government has no plans to relinquish the base territory anytime soon. It states:

Naval Station Guantanamo Bay is the forward, ready, and irreplaceable U.S. sea power platform in the Caribbean. For more than a century, its presence has given decision makers unique options across the range of military and interagency operations.
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay strives to provide state-of-the-art self-sustaining infrastructure, while supporting unified, inter-agency joint operations, and training. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay provides a high quality of life for all residents and preserves the installation’s sensitive environmental, historic, and cultural resources.

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